Thursday, September 19, 2013
Russian Steppes 3,000 BCE
Long before Russia was Russia, in approximately 3,000 BCE, the steppes of northern Eurasia were dominated by nomadic pastoral tribes. Steppes are, at least according to Merriam-Webster.com, "a large, flat area of land with grass and very few trees especially in eastern Europe and Asia". Essentially the savannas of Eurasia. These lands were not ideal for the city or village building that was predominate at the time, especially near major rivers. Instead tribes herded their cattle across the grass. They came and went depending on the needs of the herd. The needs of the herd depended on it's size. Although these nomads often returned to the same general areas, they weren't determined by season or anything else. Horses were extremely important to this culture. They were the first to domesticate the horse and as a result created weapons and tools that corresponded like the chariot. Much like slaves and gold were in other cultures, horses were a sign of prestige and pride. These people were very dependent on their animals, using them as beasts of burden, riding them, milking and slaughtering them for food, and using the hair for clothing purposes. They were also a huge advantage in warfare as the Hittites found in Egypt and the Mongols found when building one of the greatest empires in history, stretching well into modern day Russia and influencing the development of the resulting culture.